Series Review: Sex, Love & Stiletto by Lauren Layne

Posted February 8, 2016 by Kim in 5 Stars, In Review, Series Review / 3 Comments

SLS_series

I’ve wanted to read the Sex, Love & Stilettos series since I fell in love with Lauren’s new Oxford series. I wasn’t the Oxford series was a spinoff of an existing series when I started, but I knew I simply had to go back and read the stories of the secondary characters and couples featured in her Oxford series. I’d fallen in love with the world, characters and friendships, so I was thrilled to learn I could get more… even if it meant reading out of order. 😉

Lauren’s rapidly moved near the top of my auto-buy (or request) author list. I’ve really enjoyed everything of hers that I’ve read and I fully intend to tackle the series I’ve not yet read this year. She never disappoints me!

divider_bluegold

Series Review: Sex, Love & Stiletto by Lauren LayneAfter the Kiss by Lauren Layne
Series: Sex Love & Stiletto #1
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication date: August 26, 2013
Publisher: Loveswept
Format: eBook, 233 pages
How I got it: I bought it!
Add it: Goodreads
My rating:
Heat level: One FlameOne FlameOne FlameOne Flame

Julie Greene loves flings. Loves steamy first dates, sizzling first kisses, and every now and then, that first sexy romp between the sheets. Comfy pants, sleepy Sundays, movie nights on the couch? Shudder. But when Julie gets assigned the hardest story of her career—a first-person account of that magical shift between dating and "I do"—she'll need a man brave enough to give a total commitment-phobe a chance at more.

Normally, Mitchell Forbes would be exactly that man. A devastatingly hot workaholic who tends to stay in relationships for far too long, he should be the perfect subject for Julie's "research." But what Julie doesn't know is that Mitchell is looking to cut loose for once in his life. And the leggy journalist notorious for avoiding love is exactly the type of no-strings fling he's looking for. In other words, Mitchell is the polar opposite of what Julie needs right now. And, at the same time, he's exactly what she wants.

divider_bluegold

In Review My Thoughts

I love love loved this book! It was like a wonderful little romantic comedy movie playing out on the pages in front of my eyes. In fact, it reminded me quite a bit of one of my own personal all time favorite rom coms – How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. In fact, I spent a fair amount of time imagining Kate Hudson as Julie and Matthew McConaughey – with glasses – as Mitchell. But the best part about it is that, while the storyline was familiar, Lauren took it and made it her own.

Julie and Mitchell were fantastic. While, on paper, they seemed to want different things – she’s all about the fling, he’s all about the relationships – they really were more alike than they even knew. And I don’t mean just because they’re both keeping secrets – you know, with the bet and the article. I loved that they weren’t falling all over each other immediately. There was tension that gave way to WICKED chemistry. I loved watching them fall for each other, even though I knew things would get rocky once the secrets were revealed. I just hoped they were strong enough to (eventually) get past it. I was entirely wrapped up in this couple and I couldn’t put the book down for a minute once the story really hit its stride.

After the Kiss was a quick read that was sexy, sweet and funny. It even packed a bit of an emotional punch a couple times, too. The feels were unexpected but they were real, y’all. But I finished it with a huge grin on my face and plan to dive right into the second book as soon as I write this review, so all’s well that ends well. I’m greedy and want to know about all of the secondary characters now! Let the binge commence!

smaller spacer

FAVORITE QUOTES:

Heck, half the women in Manhattan knew Julie by name. Knew what she stood for. Stiletto was the magazine to work at. The Dating, Love and Sex department was the department to work in. And Julie, Grace Brighton, and Riley McKenna were Dating, Love, and Sex, respectively.

“The society pages call them Dating, Love, and Sex. Privately, I think of them as Kiss, Cuddle, and Fuck.”

Maybe this relationship gig wouldn’t be so bad after all. There was something to be said about a guy who picked up on your drink preferences without asking, didn’t try to steal your fries, and could make your nipples tighten with a single glance.

It was like the first kiss, the last kiss, and every kiss in between, all rolled into one hot, bizarre moment.

divider_bluegold

Series Review: Sex, Love & Stiletto by Lauren LayneLove the One You're With by Lauren Layne
Series: Sex Love & Stiletto #2
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication date: December 9, 2013
Publisher: Loveswept
Format: eBook, 271 pages
How I got it: I bought it!
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes
My rating:
Heat level: One FlameOne FlameOne FlameOne FlameOne Flame

As a leading columnist for Stiletto, Grace Brighton has built a career warning women about rotten, cheating liars. She just never suspected her fiancé would be one of them. After Grace takes a heart-mending hiatus, her first assignment is to go on a couple of dates with a counterpart from the men's magazine Oxford and report her impressions. Grace 1.0 may have been instantly smitten with the gorgeous correspondent, but Grace 2.0 has sworn off relationships for six months, and she's not falling for his outstanding bod and trophy-winning kisses... or is she?


Jake Malone wants to get back to the fly-by-night, who-knows-what's-next guy he used to be, and he knows exactly how to do it. Oxford is adding a travel section, and Jake—with no wife and no kids and a willingness to live anywhere, eat anything, do everything—is perfect for the job... except that his playboy reputation makes his new editor nervous. To get the gig, he must agree to a fluffy joint article with Stiletto.

But after just one date with snooty, sumptuous, sensational Grace Brighton, Jake starts taking this assignment a whole lot more seriously...

divider_bluegold

In Review My Thoughts

I’m not kidding when I said in my previous review that I was going to binge this series. I jumped right into Love the One You’re With as soon as I finished my review for the first book. I loved it every bit as much as the first!

This book was FUN. I love the fake relationship trope and I liked the little twist here, where Grace and Jake were being made to pretend they were dating because of work. Of course, we all know it’s only a matter of time before pretend turns into real and I loved how Lauren made this her own for these two characters. I adored these two. Grace deserved a HEA after her jerkwad ex treated her like he did. Jake was the perfectly imperfect guy to give it to her, even if he definitely wasn’t looking for a relationship when things started between them. As the competition between them heated up, so did their chemistry and the sexual tension. What the public saw was just a very small part of what was happening between Grace and Jake. I loved their banter and, honestly, everything about them and this book.

Love the One Your With was a great addition to what’s quickly becoming one of my favorite adult contemporary romance series by an author who has absolutely earned a spot on my auto-buy (or request) author list. This book was funny, sexy and swoony. After being hit unaware by the feels in the first book, I’d prepared myself going into this one. The feels were there for sure. The book wasn’t without drama, but it wasn’t over-the-top and I loved that. The battle of the sexes has never been this fun or sexy!

smaller spacer

FAVORITE QUOTES:

“The only women whose buttons get pushed by ‘cheese plate’ are dairy maids. So feel free to take that little tidbit of a sex tip of yours right on back to Wisconsin.”

He wanted to kiss her. Damn it to hell. He wanted to bury his fingers in her hair. Hell, he wanted to lift her on to the desk and bury himself in her.

That’s what they were doing – dating for public consumption. It was like reality TV without the reality. Not quite scripted, but not quite real either.

divider_bluegold

Series Review: Sex, Love & Stiletto by Lauren LayneJust One Night by Lauren Layne
Series: Sex Love & Stiletto #3
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication date: April 22, 2014
Publisher: Loveswept
Format: eBook, 252 pages
How I got it: I bought it!
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes
My rating:
Heat level: One FlameOne FlameOne FlameOne Flame

Riley McKenna knows sex—good sex, bad sex, kinky sex…Her articles in Stiletto magazine are consistently the publication’s most scandalous—and the most read. But Riley has a secret…all that sexy talk? Not an ounce of it comes from personal experience. Her own bedroom escapades are more limited than even her best friends know. When her editor requests that all columnists write something more personal for Stiletto’s anniversary issue, Riley turns to the one man she’s always been able to count on and calls in the favor of a lifetime.

Sam Compton would do anything for Riley McKenna. Anything except be her experimental sex toy. He refuses her request. At least until she tells him that it’ll either be him or she’ll go to someone else. And that, Sam can’t accept. Reluctantly he agrees to her terms—one night of completely meaningless sex in the name of research. Riley thinks she’s prepared for what awaits her in Sam’s bed. After ten years of writing about sex, actually doing it shouldn’t be that different, right? So wrong. What starts as “one time only” becomes “just one more time.” And then one more. And before they know it, Riley and Sam learn first-hand that when it comes to love, there’s no such thing as just one night.

divider_bluegold

In Review My Thoughts

THIS is the book I was waiting for. Don’t get me wrong, I love all the characters in this series and I enjoyed reading all of them, but there was something about Riley and Sam and the interactions I’d seen between them in previous books that made me NEED THIS BOOK so badly. It’s probably because I’m a sucker for the whole brother’s best friend and little sister match up. Add in a side of (what appears to be) unrequited love and I’m all over it. It was everything I wanted and more.

When Riley (and the rest of the Stiletto Love and Relationship ladies) were charged with writing a special, behind the scenes look at themselves and how they actually live the things they write for Stiletto, she realizes the jig is just about up. What would readers (or the higher ups) say if they realized the columnist who writes about sex doesn’t have anywhere near the experience the whole of Manhattan thinks she does? She decides to proposition Sam, her brother’s best friend and her lifelong crush, to help her gain some experience. What she doesn’t know is that Sam’s been pining away for her for years, just as she was doing the same for him. He’s trying to be a good man and stay true to a promise he made to her brother years ago, however.

I loved Riley and Sam together. It would be an understatement to say things were bumpy with these two though. It wasn’t that they were lacking chemistry – even when it was of the antagonistic variety, it was good. They’d known each other a good portion of their lives. They cared deeply for each other, even if they didn’t really show it. The feelings had been lurking for awhile, it’s just now they get the chance to come out. But it’s not easy. Sam’s a complicated guy and, thanks to his piece of trash mother, he’s never felt like he could do anything right and he definitely wasn’t good enough for Riley. This one features a slow burn and it takes some time for them to get down to the good stuff, and even then there are some things they need to get past, but I LOVED IT. It was real and I was totally invested in them. I think there were more tears with this book than the others combined. But it all ended with me having a huge grin on my face and all but clutching my iPad to my chest.

smaller spacer

FAVORITE QUOTES:

She did this to herself every damn time, holding on to the hope that she and Sam would actually cross that line between bickering and flirting, curiosity and jealousy. Between friends and lovers. 

Riley, on the other hand, was blissfully unaware of Sam’s plight and was quite likely to die as the hottest old lady on the block, completely blind to the fact that she’d killed ol’ Sam Compton simply by being the most gorgeous woman alive. 

The problem wasn’t that he’d been her (almost) first. It was that some deep, dark, moronic part of him wanted to be her last. 

divider_bluegold

Series Review: Sex, Love & Stiletto by Lauren LayneThe Trouble with Love by Lauren Layne
Series: Sex Love & Stiletto #4
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication date: March 3, 2015
Publisher: Loveswept
Format: eBook, 248 pages
How I got it: I bought it!
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes
My rating:
Heat level: One FlameOne FlameOne FlameOne Flame

As Stiletto magazine’s authority on all things breakup-and-heartache, Emma Sinclair writes from personal experience. Five years ago, Emma was Charlotte, North Carolina’s darling debutante and a blushing bride-to-be. Now she’s the ice queen of the Manhattan dating scene. Emma left her sultry Southern drawl behind, but not even her closest friends know that with it she left her heart. Now Emma’s latest article forces her to face her demons—namely, the devilishly sexy guy who ditched her at the altar.

After giving up everything for a pro-soccer career, Alex Cassidy watches his dreams crumble as a knee injury sidelines him for good. Now he’s hanging up his cleats and giving journalism a shot. It’s just a coincidence that he happens to pick a job in the same field, and the same city, as his former fiancée . . . right? But when Emma moves in next door, it’s no accident. It’s research. And Alex can’t help wondering what might have been. Unlike the innocent girl he remembers, this Emma is chic, sophisticated, and assertive—and she wants absolutely nothing to do with him. The trouble is, Alex has never wanted her more.

divider_bluegold

In Review My Thoughts

I love a good second chance romance, but that said, I was terrified of going into this one. My bookish bestie said it was a tough read and while that’s all she told me, it was enough to make me really nervous about this book. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to take finding out why things went wrong between Emma and Alex originally. While it wasn’t the easiest read of the bunch, and it definitely had a less playful vibe than the others, I wound up loving it in the end. It just took a little time to get there.

My emotions were all over the place while reading this book. Because it’s written in both Emma and Alex’s POV, readers get the whole story… All the feels from both sides. Believe me when I say there are a lot of them. This book is about two people who are still both in love with each other, but also kind of hate each other. The hurt runs deep on both sides and, though they work together, they’ve never bitten the bullet and talked about why/how things ended between them. There are lots of assumptions and misunderstandings. It takes awhile to unpack the whole story, but once it did, my heart ached for these two more than anything. I hated how they’d been torn apart and lived these basically half lives without each other when the feelings were still so strong. This one has ugly, raw moments but there are good things too. It’s funny and sweet and it was great to watch these two work their way back to each other.

While the vibe of this book was definitely different than the first three, I’m so glad Lauren wrote it. I understand the Sex, Love & Stiletto series was originally supposed to be just three books. It would’ve felt incomplete had Emma and Alex’s story not been told. It wasn’t always the to easiest read but it was totally worth it in the end.

I’m definitely going to miss this series. Thankfully I still get a little more of these characters in the Oxford series, which is also almost over. Womp womp. I just love this little world that Lauren has built and I wish it could go on forever! Both this series and the Oxford one are books I’ll add to my reread list. They’re the perfect little romances and I can’t recommend them highly enough.

smaller spacer

FAVORITE QUOTES:

“Do you ever think we broke each other? Because sometimes… it’s like both of us are unable to feel.”
“Yeah, Emma. I think that all the damn time.”

“Sometimes I think I’d prefer you hate me. At least then you’d notice me.” 

“I remember every damn thing,” he continued, gaze still straight ahead. “I remember how I thought you were so shy up until our first date when I realized you had a bawdy, brash sense of humor. I still remember the jolt I got when you first touched my hand. I remember our first kiss, our first fight.” He took a deep breath. “I remember our last kiss, our last fight.” 

divider_bluegold

About Lauren Layne

Lauren Layne used to work in e-commerce. She wore cute shoes and real-person clothes like an adult.

Then she was like, nope, changed into her pajamas and started writing romance novels.

She believes in sarcasm, weekday happy hours, and happily ever after.

She lives in the Seattle-area with her husband and jumbo Pomeranian.

divider_bluegold

Let's Chat

Have you read the Stiletto series?
Any of Lauren’s other books?

Which are your faves?

Kim Sig_edited-1

Tags: , , , , , ,

Divider

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge

3 responses to “Series Review: Sex, Love & Stiletto by Lauren Layne

    • Kim

      Thank you! I went crazy for this series… which is pretty much exactly what I thought would happen when I finally got around to picking it up. I love Lauren’s writing! I hope you enjoy reading the last two books as much as I did! I’m glad to see them back on your TBR. 🙂